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Friday, July 25, 2008

Judging Scripts is Fun and Easy!

Well. That's not exactly the truth. But it is interesting. The Wave-inatrix has been keeping quite busy judging scripts for the first round eliminations of the Silver Screenwriting Competition.

Together with my partner Jim Mercurio, I created guidelines for the judging, including numeric ratings for categories like character, dialogue, premise, theme, structure and format. You're reading the script bearing in mind that certain categories will need a numeric value assigned. You're looking for "voice". You're looking or commercial potential. You're looking for a compelling read. To advance the script to the next round or not to advance. That is the question.

This is how I know I'm reading a script that will advance: I can't seem to slow down the read in order to be analytical. I'm totally caught up in the experience. What categories? What guidelines? I have to see what happens next! Of course, after all is said and done, I have to be analytical and fill out a comment sheet on the script and on the writer. Man that's fun when the pages rock. I'm just sayin'.

I must have gotten lucky or something because the first batch of scripts assigned to me have been really good. In the past two days, I have read scripts set in the Wild West, in the Pacific Northwest, in England and in 5,000 B.C. I have read romcom, I have read horror, I have read a script about alchemy...and it's really great fun. I have judged and rated scripts in another competition so I know how this works. But this time, it's my competition and I'll tell you what the bottom line is for me: just effing entertain me.

That's all for now. Carry on.

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Anonymous said...

Hey Julie

Read any scripts in your contest that knocked your socks off.

You know one that goes for $100,000against 500,000.00, you know...

I just read one script from a contest that was written with some clever concise description .. very atmospheric...

Looking forward to the results.....

Christian M. Howell said...

And I hope that's what my script does. Effing entertain you.

I have a question though. Do you think it would be of value in contests to accept loglines?

I think it would more inform as to the writer's intention.

Julie Gray said...

I have not yet read a script that has totally blown my mind but I have heard from some other readers that they have. I'm jealous!

Loglines and intentions: actually, Christian, when I work with clients through The Script Department, I want to know the writer's intention so that I can help bring the intention closer to the execution. In a competition, I don't care what the intention is. If it's not on the page, clear as day to me - then it doesn't matter. It's a competition nice breaks.

E.C. Henry said...


When reading so many scripts, what kind of tricks do you employ to remain frosty and optomistic about the next one in the pile? Also, what genre of story(action/adventure, romantic comedy, horror) do you feel most comfortable in?

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

Julie Gray said...

Hey EC - I love all genres and I am comfortable with all genres. I just like good writing, period.

How do I remain upbeat and optimistic even when reading a lot of not-so-good scripts? I remain upbeat and fresh for each script because I believe in good writing and I can't wait to break a writer and change that writer's life. It's like going on a treasure hunt. I want to be that one person (or competition, in this case) who has a huge impact on a writer's life. It's exciting and it's an honor.

Christian M. Howell said...

Thanks for the answer. Here's hoping.